This is bread heaven.
Crusty golden on the outside, chewy texture studded with olives, jalpenos, and garlic on the inside.
OK, listen to me. There is NO reason why you can’t recreate this masterpiece of textures and mouthwatering goodness.
If you think baking bread is beyond your skill set, think again.
Can you toss a few ingredients in a bowl, go away for a couple of hours, and throw a few olives and other things on top of the dough and mold it into a round shape?
Of course you can.
It’s so easy — not rocket science — and I guarantee success.
Seriously Easy Rustic Savory Olive/Jalapeno/Garlic Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 package regular active yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil just for the rising bowl)
1 cup rough chopped olives (pitted)
3 cloves garlic
1. You can either sauté the jalapeños and garlic for a few minutes or leave them raw; it’s your choice. I used pickled lalapenos and garlic ‘cos I had them in the pantry.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, water. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, mix until it comes together in a wet ball. Add a bit more flour if it looks too wet, but you don’t want an overly dry dough.
3. If you’re doing it all by hand, old-school style, use a wooden spoon and put some muscle into it.
4. When it comes together, flour a cutting board and knead for a bit; this is a rustic bread so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
5. Oil a bowl with the reserved olive oil, place the dough in bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and set aside in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours. It helps to blanket the bowl with a towel, too.
6. After you can see the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough onto a floured wooden board. With your hands, roughly press the dough into a circle.
7. Add half the olives/jalapenos/garlic.
8. Fold the dough in half and gently press again to a rough circle.
9. Add the rest of the ingredients and form the dough into a ball shape.
Not so different than Play-Doh, right?
10. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
11. Dust the baking sheet with a teaspoon or so of cornmeal or flour.
12. Let rise again for about thirty minutes.
13. Toward the end of this second rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
14. Using a sharp knife, cut an X-shaped slit across the top of the dough.
15. Bake about forty minutes until the top is golden brown.
16. What I like to do toward the end of baking time is to take the bread off the baking pan and place directly on the rack to bake for another five-seven minutes. This ensures a completely even crunchy crust.
17. Take out of the oven, place on cooling rack.
It’s very important not to cut into it too soon! I know it’s hard to wait, but sometimes it’s a good idea.
Serve with homemade lentil soup and a fresh garden salad; this is truly bread heaven.
I’d like to hear from you if you try it. I taught tugboat man how and he didn’t think it was too difficult.